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The Foundation for The Gator Nation An Equal Opportunity Institution Samuel Proctor Oral History Program College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Program Director : Dr. Paul Ortiz Office Manager : Tamarra Jenkins 241 Pugh Hall Digital Humanities Coordinator : Deborah Hendrix PO Box 115215 Gainesville, FL 32611 352 392 7168 35 2 846 1983 Fax The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) was founded by Dr. Samuel Proctor at the University of Florida in 1967. Its original projects were collections centered around Florida history with the purpose of preserving eyewitness acc ounts of economic, social, political, religious and intellectual life in Florida and the South. In the 45 years since its inception, SPOHP has collected over 5,000 interviews in its archives. Transcribed interviews are available through SPOHP for use by research scholars, students, journalists, and other interested groups. Material is frequently used for theses, dissertations, articles, books, documentaries, museum displays, and a variety of other public uses. As standard oral history practice dictates, S POHP recommends that researchers refer to both the transcript and audio of an interview when conducting their work. A selection of interviews are available online here through the UF Digital Collections and the UF Smathers Library system. Suggested corrections to transcripts will be reviewed and processed on a case by case basis. Oral history int erview t ranscripts available on the UF Digital Collections may be in draft or final format. SPOHP transcribers create interview transcripts by listen ing to the ori ginal oral history interview recording and typing a verbatim d ocument of it. The transcript i s written with careful attention to reflect original grammar and word choice of each interviewee; s ubjective or editorial changes are not made to their speech. The draft trans cript can also later undergo a final edit to ensure accuracy in spelling and form at I nterviewees can also provide their own spelli ng corrections SPOHP transcribers refer to the Merriam program specific transcribing style guide, accessible For more information abo ut SPOHP, visit http://oral.history.ufl.edu or call the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program office at 352 392 7168. May 2015
TMP 032 Interviewee: Kevin Godsey Interviewer: Jessica Taylor Date: July 11, 2014 T: This is Jessica Taylor interviewing Kevin Godsey in Onemo, Virginia on July 11, 2014 at 3:10 P.M. Mr. Godsey, can you please state your full name? G: Kevin Godsey. T: And when were you born? G: March 9, 1972. T: W here were you born? G: I n Hampton, but from Ma thews right here. T: A nd what were your names and occupations? G: Gloria Godsey and Jimmy Godsey; he was a commercial waterman. T: And your mother was a homemaker? G: Yes T: D o you have any brothers or sisters? G: One brother, Jamie. T: Okay. What does he do? G: Works at NASA. T: NASA? Okay, and as for you? What is your occupation? G: Commercial waterman
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 2 T: And how did you get involved in that? G: Father done it. Both grandfathers done it. All the great grandfathers done it, so, just decided to do it too. T: Is that how far back it goes to your great grandparents? G: Probably before that, not sure. T: Well, we can start way back there then. What do you know about your great grandparents? G: My great great great was on the property here about a quarter of a mile that way and all this was the one plantation. And my great grandfather married a Yankee and he too happy about it so he made them build the house which was right over there which was on the far corner of the property to try to get her away far as he could from him [Laughter]. T: [Laughter]. What year was that, do you know? G: late T: What do you know about them as people? Any stories passed down? G: Just commercial waterman and about most I remember. T: What do you fish specifically? G: Mainly crab, but some fish also. T: Do you know anything about the way your great grandparents crabbed or fished or the boats they had, anything like that?
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 3 G: Yup! Know all the boats and stuff. They run a lot of fr eight more than Run watermelons to Baltimore, crabs to Baltimore, so from Carolina to Baltimore. T: From Carolina? G: Uh huh. They went to Carolina and got watermelons a lot and run to Baltimore. T: Where in Carolina did they get watermelons? G: not sure. T: Just there? G: Uh huh. T: Did they ever tell you anything about Baltimore? G: No, not really. T: No? Okay. So you know the boats then? G: Uh huh. T: Can you walk me through the boats? G: The Wanda the Beryl Marie the Delvin Cay and not sure T: Okay, the difference between those three? G: All of are deck boats. They actually got big freight boats. They got bigger as the years went by. T: Uh huh. Were they all made locally? G: Ma thews, Gloucester, I believe one of them was Deltaville.
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 4 T: Deltaville? G: Uh huh. T: D o you know who made them? Or like the Dig g s es maybe? G: Bony Di g gs and a group built the Beryl Marie down here. The Delvin Cay was Francis Smith McGee And the Wanda was a Price, I believe, in Deltaville. T: Okay, do you happen to know a lot about those boat builders? Did you parents or grandparents build relationships with them? G: Not that I know of. T: What does it mean to have a boat from a specific person? G: This area always had a big name for boats and a little bit stronger and built out of heavier stuff. T: Was it a local pride thing? G: Uh huh. T: Great, okay. So you talked a little about your great grandparents. Were your grandparents part of your life? G: Somewhat. I knew three of and two of died when I was probably eight, and the other one died when I was eighteen. T: So they were part of your upbringing. Two men, assuming, were alive? G: One.
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 5 T: One man was alive? G: Uh huh. T: And he was a waterman? G: Uh huh. T: What did he teach you or talk to you about? G: He actually probably died when I was seven or eight, so. T: Do you remember anything specific about him? G: Not a lot, no. T: W hat about your two grandmas? G: She died within a month of him so I remember her a lot. The other one died when I was eighteen and she lived right over here so I seen her a lot when I was up. T: Were close? G: Um hm. Made a lot of homemade rolls. [Laughter] T: Homemade rolls? [Laughter] Okay! I appreciate that. Did they ever tell you stories about Mathews in general? G: No, not really. T: No? G: Unh uh.
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 6 T: Hmm interesting. Did they ever teach you any kind of, like, songs or even your parents, any like specific things you would want to know going onto the water? G: Just probably grow up with my father and more or less and as much as told. T: So his teaching style. G: Um hm, yeah. T: So when you were growing up and learning it what was did you have trouble with anything in particular? Anything challenging to you? G: Not really, just tagged along. Probably started on the boat when I was six, seven, eight years old. Just grew up in it and T: When did you consider yourself independent from your father? G: I probably crabbed some on my own when I was about thirteen or fourteen. T: And that was kind of the moment for you? G: Somewhat. Then after I graduate d I went pretty much totally on my own in the summertime. And we worked together in the winter. T: Did you graduate from Ma thews High School? G: Um hm. T: What was that like for you, Mat hews High School? G: Easy, country, school. [Laughter]
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 7 T: Did you try really hard at school? Or were you kinda . G: Just went through the motions [Laughter]. T: Okay [Laughter] probably thought about high school in a while huh? G: No, I kinda went through the motions. T: Do you have children now? G: Nope. T: Okay, you okay. Was there anything special about Mathews High School that you t see at any other high school? G: Friend of mine told me a four or five months ago neither one of us had never paid attention but another kid from another school come here and told him he believe there was a cow pasture across from the school. And we grew up never paid any attention to it. [Laughter] T: [Laughter] hard when from a place to judge it, right? G: Yeah. T: Well a good question then. So, how does being from Mathews help you judge other places? G: Just up here know any different just [Interruption in interview] T: So, you went to elementary school and middle school here too, right?
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 8 G: Um hm. Yu p. T: Which ones? G: Lee Jackson, then intermediate school was Thomas Hunter, and then the high school. T: What do you, I know this is, like, a long time ago, but what do you remember about elementary school and middle school? G: Not a lot [Laughter] M ust not have been very impressive [Laughter]. T: So nothin g about teachers, or recess? G: No, no T: School bus? G: No, no T: Okay, so switch back to the other track then. So how is Mathews different from Glou ces ter? G: Just smaller and easier goin say. T: Really? G: Um hm. T: Okay, do yo u have a relationship with Glouces ter waterman? G: I know a few. T: Yeah? What is that like?
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 9 G: We just talk back and forth and see on in Gloucest er, on here, and keep up with prices, and stuff like that. T: Are the prices different there? G: Sometime s, it can be. T: Higher or lower? G: Sometimes it can be higher over there more competition. More competition. T: Oh, okay. So are you more likely to go over there to sell things? G: I actually sell most of mine in Richmond. T: Richmond, okay. So you drive up there? G: Um hm, yup. T: Maybe it would be best if you walk me through a day of what you do. G: Get up about 3:30, leave here in about ten minutes, get in the boat about a quarter to four, crab till around 11:00, 11:30, carry some crabs to Gwyn Island which is a house, and then come home. And Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday I go to Richmond to carry crabs to seven different stores up there. The other afternoons just work on gear and get stuff ready for the next day. T: Are they the same places in Richmond that your parents and grandparents ? G: No, just me. T: Just you?
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 10 G: Um hm. T: Where did your parents take crabs and fish? G: They sold pretty much everything local. T: Locally, okay. G: Um hm. T: And why did you decided not to do that? G: Just more money. Skip the middle man and go straight to the stores. T: Gotcha, gotcha. So when you talk to other waterman or people in Gloucest er, where do you do that at? G: On the phone. T: On the phone, all on the phone? G: Yeah. T: I noticed the Wawa i s pretty active with G uinea men G: [Laughter] Is that right? T: And I was like, going on guys? But I want to you know. So good to know So why did you chose crab over fish? G: I still fish too, but pretty steady all summer. Fish can be up and down, just pretty steady all summer. I fish when we have a run of fish, when fish come through spot come through in September, October, then rockfish in February.
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 11 T: How did that change your work pattern? G: Actually, the crab market kinda slows up in September and October after Labor Day, so kinda good to jump into else too. T: Okay, absolutely. And you kind of know when gonna happen ? G: Yeah, after Labor Day it kinda starts the crab market slows up. T: Okay, interesting. So t his is a really broad question so take your time with it : how has the market and the practice changed between your generation and yours? G: They fish a lot of pots. Well, actually in the 40 s is when they first started pots. And they have hardly any regulations. Back then they had a lot of other things to do too beside stick to crabbing: go which in the last few years has started back some, which is a good thing. They might set seventy five eighty pots then and set three to four hundred or more today, and if a rig with three or four people they migh t set twelve hundred pots today. And changed a lot. T: Wow. What about the actual practice of it? G: The crab pot we use today is pretty much identical to the one they developed in the 40 s. Well, 30 s I believe. T: Okay, 30 s. Was that the one your grandparents used then? G: Uh huh. And they use a lot of trotline also besides pots.
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 12 T: All right. How the economy? I know that for waterman, the height was like in the 60 s and 70 s and then it went back down? heard that. G: They had a lot of oysters i different things. Some people made a lot of money on croakers in the 40 s, then in the 50 s the croakers disappeared and they lost all that money keep try i n catch had become huge in the 50 s and they all died in the 60 s. was probably a lot of crab s in the 70 s through the 80 s and catch is kinda off, but the market price has gone up kinda to take care of the amount that we catch. So kinda equaled out on that. T: Okay, does that mean you have to be versatile in the way that you, for example buy equipment, or does it it goes decade by decade, that you have to G: Not really, been the same amount of pots for twenty five years now the same thing over and over. The catch has been on the decline for probably twenty years now; a gradual decline it seems. But the price has been so it equals out to the same thing, far as amount of money, from what seen. T: So how does the decrease in catch but increase in the profit affect your life? G: Well easier. a few a nd a big price is easier than a lot and a small price. less work a whole lot less product. T: S o room for a commercial waterman in economy? G: Yeah!
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 13 T: So the last guy I just talked to said that there are no waterman left in Mathew s County. G: Very few. T: Very few? G: forty two and probably the youngest. T: Oh my G od. G: a few young ones, but the youngest. T: How do you feel about that? G: If the regulations totally take it over and if willing to do that amount of work in the future, it may be a real good job. But it all depends on the regulations and the water quality what will happen. T: How many would you say that there are? G: In Virginia, probably around two thousand license and probably twelve or fifteen hundred of them who are active and just a guess. T: H ow many in Mathews? G: In Mathews . t probably thirty active ones maybe. Maybe. But out of the thirty, if it is thirty, out of the thirty probably fifteen to eighteen are retired people, kinda it as a hobby. T: To what do you attribute that decline? G: a lot easier jobs to make more money [Laughter].
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 14 T: So you feel like your job is hard. G: a lot of hours and a lot of work and some frustrations, but I do it what I really wanna do. T: Tell me what a frustration is. G: Right now, crab pots that we cannot keep clean. The water quality, the grass just grows overnight and continuously pressure and to keep pots clean. T a big frustration right now. And twenty years ago, we have any trouble with dirty crab pots at all. T: a really interesting frustration that speaks to, like the larger Chesapeake Bay issues of pollution. D oes that affect your life? G: Yeah, sure the growth of dirtiness on the pots. T: This may be a touchy question, but does that affect your political beliefs at all? G: Yeah, see all you hear is clean the bay clean the bay and steady worse and worse and worse I just see it as money scheme to clean the bay as a scare tactic to get donations from people to raise money and steal money rather than actually do about it. T: So the solution? G: I have no idea. So many people move to the coast that see, I know how you turn that back. T: So talking about come here s, like retirees
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 15 G: Well yeah, but if you look at the whole country everybody moves to all the coast [Laughter]. T: true, true. Well how do you feel about specifically in Mathews a lot of retired people living here? G: Yeah, Mathews is the oldest average age in the state I believe by far. T: That would drive me nuts [Laughter]. G: [Laughter] T: Well how do you feel about it? G: It d bother me. fine [Laughter]. T: All right, okay. I mean obviously probably more market for you. G: Well, I mostly deal out of Mathews, so a little product here but not a lot. T: S o I know a hard job. Why do you stay in it? G: I know anything else [Laughter]. Just born and raised and all I really ever wanted to do. A s a kid we played with crab pots just about up and it. T: L et me try else. So you crab alone, right? G: Um hm, yup. T: When out there alone for six, seven hours, not a lot of Americans do that. T hey all work together in, like, giant social environments. S o what do you think about that isolation and what do you think about while doing it?
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 16 G: to get done so I can get home [Laughter]. T: Okay. [Laughter] G: No, peace and quiet and beautiful in this area, so. T: Yeah, are there any special places in Mathews that you enjoy more than others? G: on the sofa [Laughter]. T: [Laughter] Okay, thanks guy! [Laughter]. G: [Laughter] T: Al l right, I meant outside this house? [Laughter]. G: Out in the boat I guess, it. T: D o you have any special spots that you go to in the boat? Boat is mobile, assuming. G: Right here in the back yard, in Winter Harbor, in the bay right out here. T: So on the water right there, huh? G: Yeah, not too far, right through the woods here. T: Okay. W hat are the places in Mathews that you know really well that you could navigate? G: Pretty much all of Mathews T: All of Mathews ? G: Um hm.
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 17 T: Are there places that do you ever go out recreationally? G: I used to go hook and line just very rare. I been in three or four years I guess. T: When you went hook and line fishing you go? G: Right in here Winter Harbor. T: Are there other fisherman or people that crabbed that use Winter Harbor? G: No, just me. T: Just you? G: Um hm. T: So do waterman have their own territories in that G: Pretty much, yeah. Most people just have different areas always crabbed and where they stay at mostly. T: And your dad and your grandpa used the same area? G: Um hm. Worked out of the same river. T: But, now that there are less waterman, do those territories change a little bit? G: The only difference we see, we see a few more people come down this way from up n orth a whole lot less crabs and still a few more here. So a lot more people move down this way now and crab. T: Do they physically move to Mathews ?
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 18 G: No a couple have. But most of drive down. T: How are they received by people here? G: Fine. T: fine? G: Um hm. T: This may be a weird question, but what makes Winter Harbor different from any other place? G: Winter Harbor is very shallow, so one reason I probably see many people, because you really gotta know where to navigate it. T: Anything else about it that you can describe to us? G: It has a lot of marsh channels that go through the marshes. A lot of people have explained it like the Everglades or something. I a little bit different for this area to have those ditches off through the marshes. T: Huh, do you know why that is? G: Not really, other than Garden Creek, which is another area right over here, that used to drain into Winter Harbor and go out Garden channel kept closed in the bay T he WPA dug a canal from it to Winter Harbor back in the 30 s and sure that affected the ditches through the marshes to flow water out of Garden Creek.
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 19 T: Interesting, okay. Wow, you really know the history of the actual water really well. How is that I mean beyond Winter Harbor, how is that changed over the coast of Mathews ? G: Winter changed a lot because the beach washed into it, and that made a big change in the water direction going to and from Garden Creek and made it a whole lot closer, and that changed a lot. T: What about the rest of Mathews ? G: As? T: I mean you mentioned pollution obviously, but how has the waterways I saw in the paper today that they have condemned waterways or more of them in Mathews now. G: Yeah, yeah. I think Winter Harbor mainly the only condemned is right in front of a marina and I think they have to condemn an area that close to a marina. T: Do you use that marina? G: No, maybe a few times a year when the tide is extremely low and I get from the dock that I tie up at. T: So which boat is your boat right now, or do you have multiples? G: I have two but I use a twenty foot probateir skiff right now. I had big boats, but I downsized to skiff. A whole lot more economical. A lot of people have gotten away from the bigger boats and gone to skiffs. A lot cheaper to operate.
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 20 T: Why is that? G: With the big boat, you could easily burn thirty, forty gallons of fuel a day and I could burn four or five gallons a day in a skiff. T: Wow. Do they have names? G: Not the skiffs, no. T: Not the skiffs? G: Unh uh. T: Okay, this is stupid, but why is that? too small? G: I guess. M ost never really named skiffs T hey just name the bigger boats. T: What was the name of the last big boat you had? G: Longshot T: Longshot ? G: Um hm. T: What happened to Longshot ? G: Sold it to somebody in Cape Charles. T: Can you describe to me what it looked like? G: It was a thirty six foot fiberglass boat built from Glass Marine which was over near Guinea.
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 21 T: Anything particular about it that you can remember? G: It was a big boat ; thirty six foot I t was wide and deep. And it got so I just used it for and the government has cut us back every year for about fifteen years. D justify it anymore. T: So the two skiff s that you use, how did you choose those? G: Just needed a smaller skiff that draw a lot of water for Winter Harbor to get in and o ut. R eally go much bigger and draw too much water, and that kinda suited my needs. T: I mean this is like the fourth time mentioned regulation so gonna ask you about it. W hat regulations and how have they affected your life? G: They put a lot of regulations on us that really make any sense. Lot a regulation they put on us they enforce. And if you abide by the regulation it kinda hurts you and you see so many other people that abide by it and really get forced to abide by it and a lot of the federal stuff is passed down to us now which really hurts. T: Can you tell me which ones I really know anything about this S o which ones are those? G: The federal government controls rockfish and now ready to take over the croaker and spot and eel, which I do a little bit of all three. And kinda scared ; know what to do to it. T: What do they usually the history of federal regulation with you?
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 22 G: With the rockfish, I started catching rockfish with tags about fifteen, eighteen years ago, and I probably allowed about a fourth now of the catch that I was then. Every now and then give you a little bit back then the next time take more. They gave us about fifteen percent this year and take about thirty percent a way next year. T: Wow. So when did regulations start affecting your work? G: Probab l y fifteen years ago was when they started just continuously T: W hat was the motive behind that as you see it? G: Crabs have been scarcer and scarcer and scarcer T hey just keep regulations and regulations and really seems to make any changes, far as the amount of crabs we have. T: [Laughter] G: And just kinda frustrating to see that [Laughter]. When they keep stuff and stuff and really changes. T: Yeah, yeah that is really sad. Do you attribute that to people that disobey the law? G: N aw, n ot really. Unh uh. T: So in charge of enforcing it and why they enforce it? G: The marine police from V.M.R.C. enforce it. But we hardly ever see one. not sure. [Laughter]
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 23 T: [Laughter] Have you ever had any interaction with them at all? G: Once. It as far as bad; got it straight easy. T: Do you feel comfortable talking about it? G: Yeah, yeah. T: What happened? G: We were fishing rock nets and the last net we fished we went on a twenty foot skiff and had about three thousand pound of fish and the last net we fished had a lot of grass which released a lot of water in the boat. And the rockfish are alive and you would have these tags you have to put through the mouth and through the gills and hook it on each fish. W e finished the last net ; we run about a quarter mile to get the water out of the boat to tag the fish. And after we got the water out the boat we cut the engine off, was the fish. The marine police come along and wrote us a ticket, confiscated the fish, sold the fish, give the state about three thousand dollars of our money because we tag the fish at the net. The law said place of capture, and we went to court the judge agreed place of capture is a very large area; it mean at the net, so of course they threw it out of court. T: Wow, but your fish are still gone. G: We got paid for The state paid us. T: S o is three thousand dollars an exceptional catch or is that
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 24 G: Rock fish we might catch six, seven, eight thousand a day. But a very short lived time. We have caught our quota in two or three days before, and be done for the year on it. T: Wow. Is that what you look to be doing so that you can kind of adjust the hours you have to work after? G: Usually I do it in February and really have anything else on. T: S o about a dollar a pound basically for rockfish. G: We got last year as high is $4.50 and probably as cheap as $2.75. T: Wow, oh my gosh, amazing. Does that compare to crabbing? G: a small percentage of what I make per year, but a whole lot more money in a short period of time. T: what I was So does that allow you to, like, economically save up money over a period of time or a period of years? G: is nice in the spring you ready to spend a lot of money on gear to go so comes in handy that time of year. T: very seasonal, noticing. Do you enjoy that kind of work where is changes every few months? G: Yeah, I after a while I get tired of what and ready for else. T: Are you to get tired of that and move on to else? G: I n the same occupation just different pranks
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 25 T: So you thi nking ? G: Well, in September start and fishin too the same stuff, just get tired of and just change things up a little bit. T: I thought you meant you were career changing. G: No, no, no, no, no. T: Okay, so this is it right here? G: on it. T: Okay, really great. So your grandfather passed it down to your father who passed it down to you. Do you have people that you plan to pass it on down to? G: No, not really. T: So it? G: Probably so. T: For your family. G: Probably so. T: So some fond memories you have of fishing or crabbing with your dad? G: Well, back in c rab dredging in the late  80 s early 90 s just kept the limit was twenty five barrel which was seventy five baskets and sometimes catch that in a couple hours I t was kinda neat to get to see that many crabs that fast.
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 26 T: [Laughter] pretty cool. Do you have any specific moments that stick out to you when you think weird things that happened or like good learning moments, that kinda thing? G: I was caught in some bad weather a couple of times. T: Oh really? What happened? G: Probably about seventy five mile a n hour winds in the storm, windows out of p ilot houses and the boats that was around us and stuff. T: Wow. you guys make it through? G: Fine. T: Well, how did you do it? G: We were just in a bigger boat, lucky that day. [Laughter]. T: [Laughter] Fair enough. It also seems to me that a lot of luck is involved sometimes. G: Yeah, yeah. T: How do you feel about that? G: I try not to say superstitious, but I guess I am a little bit. T: How are you superstitious? G: I really care to have any blue on the boat. T: Blue on the boat?
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 27 G: Not gonna start anything new on Friday [Laughter]. T: [Laughter]. Well tell me all the superstitions T hat is super interesting. G: Well, I say superstitious, but definitely not gonna start anything new on a Friday. T: New on a Friday? G: Yup. T: Did you say blue? G: I really want anything blue on the boat. T: What is that about? G: I have no idea. just always been the case T: Is that your thing too? G: Just been about it my whole life everything. T: Interesting. G: a lot of older people who are even extremely more superstitious that. No black lunchboxes on the boat [Laughter]. T: Well tell me about that. What do old people do that you do? G: I really carry any lunch so I have to worry about the black lunchbox so [Laughter] like I say definitely not gonna start anything on Friday. [Laughter] T: [Laughter] Okay. Do they do things differently than you do, the older guys?
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 28 G: What, today or back then? T: Either. G: Not really. T: No? G: Nope. T: Do they believe things that you believe? G: No, not really. They kinda pass down their knowledge so you kinda go along and believe what they have learned. T: Anything else on that avenue? G: No. T: Okay. your relationship like with the older guys? G: Fine. I talk to several times a day, most of around here. T: Yeah? On the phone? That kind of thing? G: Um hm. T: Do you ever see each other physically? G: Oh yeah, yeah. T: Like on the water, or? G: Um hm. T: Do you like, go say hi, or do you
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 29 G: Talk on the phone, or something couple times a to some of T: So are the kind of territories enforced between waterme n? Like if you decided to go into your friend s ? G: No, not really. kinda weird how different people are just in different areas and it kinda works out. T: S o it just happened that way? G: Yeah, it just happens that way. kinda weird. T: That is weird. I wonder why that is. G: [Laughter] I know but it is kinda weird how different people just have different areas always crabbed I n the springtime when we have our run we call it run : a group of females come through here i more in the same area. But into May, first of June everybody kinda goes to the place they gonna be for the summer. T: S o in sp ring G: Kind of a ll together. T: Is that like a social thing? I mean, you do it for social purposes, but do you end up seeing people more? G: Yeah, everybody comes in one area to crab in the springtime. T: Okay, okay interesting. So your been on this land for a really long time, right?
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 30 G: Somewhere between three hundred years right here. T: Three hundred years right here? G: Um hm. T: The last name Godsey? G: It was Hudg ins before Godsey T: Hudgins okay G: Of course. T: I was like oh. G: [Laughter] T: S o about three hundred years of this G: This is family land on right here. T: W hat does it mean to be a land owner in Mathews or even Onemo? G: Taxes keep up, might not wanna be [Laughter]. T: Well does land have value to you? G: Yeah, yeah, yeah. T: W hat kind of value? G: Need more of it for more peace and quiet [Laughter]. T: Okay [Laughter]. What does it mean to be a Hudgin s ?
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 31 G: Not a lot always been Godsey. Not really thought about the Hudg ins part that much. T: A re there a lot of Godseys around here? G: No, not at all. T: Not at all? G: Unh uh. T: Why is there not a lot of Godseys? G: It was thirteen of my grandparents ; my grandfather had twelve siblings, so thirteen, but most of them were girls. A nd the other few boys moved away to different areas so probably the last Godsey in this area from that family. T: Wow. Do you feel okay about that? G: Yeah, yeah. T: So this land how have you seen it change over time? G: Some may say the water but to me it seems the land is sinking instead of the water level rising. Which is kinda crazy sounding, but it take any storm at all anymore and covered with water down here A nd just in my time, when I was a kid, very rare we ever saw water come on the land from tide here. T: Wow. I mean, what do you think about that?
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 32 G: If it continued to do it a hundred years from now it be inhabitable right here. Not even a hundred years, maybe fifty. T: Considering how much you care about this land, how do you feel about that? G: kinda sad that gonna turn into that. B ut again I have no idea how you reverse like that. T: true, I mean, you see it as inevitable. G: Um hm, yeah. T: Well, how about the buildings around in Onemo? saying that right, right? G: Um hm, yeah. They needed one more post office so they call ed it O ne Mo and they started it Onemo. T: Really? [Laughter] G: Um hm, yeah [Laughter]. T: interesting. G: Yup, where it comes from. T: different about Onemo different than in other places in Mathews ? G: Not a lot. I mean, changed tremendously when I was a kid you went anywhere you wanted to at any time on land you knew everybody. A nd now a lot of strangers I have no idea who they are which is probably fine, but when I was a kid I just knew everybody. Pretty much done went wherever you wanted to anytime you wanted to go there.
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 33 T: So when you were a kid you did a lot of exploring? G: Yeah, stayed in the woods, stayed in the yard, stayed everywhere outta the house. T: What was that like? G: Fun. Had to beg us to come in the house for dinnertime [Laughter]. Eat real quick and go back out. T: How much of this land is Onemo? What percentage of this is? G: What do you mean? T: to say this right. So Onemo, what percentage of Onemo is this land? Is this like a large amount of the P O d istrict? G: Not really. The original plantation was a tremendous amount of [inaudible] but not anymore. T: Just curious, how do you know that your been around for three hundred years? G: Through research, and T: Oh you do research? G: I guess the tombstone down there is probably, I think in 1800s. J ust through research online. T: S o important to you? G: Um hm, yeah.
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 34 T: Do you find that it usually jives pretty well with what your parents and grandparents told you about your family? G: Um hm. T: What did your parents and grandparents tell you about your family that maybe you have heard online? G: The only thing different that I really found through them was through the family Bible about which probably leads back to when the Yankee was put on the corner, because my brother was killed at Gettysburg and I never knew that until I read it in the Bible which sure was part of the hatred towards the Yankee the reason they were built out here. [Laughter] T: insane. G: [Laughter] T: Wow, wow. Did you ever find anything that goes back to the Revolution or before or anything like that? G: Yeah, some, but I researched it a lot, myself yet. T: Why is it important to you? G: It was in Edwards, I believe off Gwyn Island was kin to me was in the Revolutionary War. T: Oh yeah, Gwyn Island was a major battle right? G: Um hm.
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 35 T: So why is it important to you to research your family? G: just always loved history as a kid; you can see some of the stuff in here. You can see the oyster cans up there from years gone by. They sit on top of the I know if seen them, on top of the cabinets in there S ee all the oyster cans? T: Oh wow! G: all oyster cans from different oyster houses back in . some of are a hundred years old, all of are at least thirty years old probably. T: you get from? G: Just started collecting them about twenty years ago. Just bought different places. T: cool. Do you have any heirlooms and things like that from your parents and grandparents? G: Some stuff, yeah. T: Yeah, like what? G: Got a lot of paperwork and stuff from the boats, keeping logs on the boats and just artifacts caught over the years. T: Okay, great great. And they catch artifacts? G: Yeah, like a little soapstone Madonna if you see it over there. T: What? That was in the river?
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 36 G: That was in the bay. My dad caught it probably in the 50 s. T: That is weird. G: Oh it is. . amazing the condition and stuff, the blue in the eyes. T: What? G: Um hm. T: And you can see where it was under water. G: Yeah, yeah. T: Wow, really incredible. Is that what from the projectile points are from? G: Another guy actually gave those to me that had picked them up in this area years and years ago. T: the most interesting thing ever found in the water? G: Pro babl y even have it down here. Caught a deadeye. I know if you know what a deadeye is? A deadeye is a wooden block that was used on breaking up of old schooners and stuff like that. Caught one of them. Caught this forgot the name s ome type of prehistoric whale T: What? Oh my gosh. And you just pulled that up? [Laughter]. G: In the Potomac River I caught this hatchet. T: Oh my gosh. G: a lot of stuff in here. [Laughter].
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 37 T: Wow, we should talk about this later. I used to do Native American history. G: By the time we switch the T: Yeah, totally! out of control. Why do you keep this stuff? G: I just love old history stuff like that. T: Yeah? really cool that you get to physically hold the objects that you come up with and yours now. G: Um hm, um hm. T: really interesting. you going to do with Just keep G: Just keep and let collect dust I guess. [Laughter] T: [Laughter] Fair enough fair enough. I did wanna ask if you had heard any folk tales from the old guys or things like that, maybe about the flood in 33 or anything really. The Guineamen have some crazy ones. G: Back to my great grandfather, he was losing his mind at the time of the flood, and when the water started in the house he my grandfather to pay him up; he could not keep a man on a ship [Laughter]. T: Oh my god T hat is so dark [Laughter]. a great one. Do you have any other ones like that that you could share? How was World War II, Vietnam, Cold War? G: No, not really. M ost my ancestors . at the time, I guess it was my great uncle, he was drafted with the family boat T hey drafted the boat and the uncle to be in
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 38 the war. And send off the Carolina coast with the family boat to patrol from German submarines. T: In a boat made for fishing? G: Um hm, the family boat. Yeah they drafted the boat and him. T: Wow. W hat did that do to the family? G: Kinda shut down their fishing for a while. [Laughter] T: One might think [Laughter]. G: Send him in the ocean off of Carolina with a pistol to look for submarines. T: Wow, incredible. This is a longshot, but were you ever told any ghost stories about Mathews anything about the fires, things like that as a kid? G: Just hear about O ld House Woods. I know if heard of an O ld House W oods. T: I have heard about O ld House W oods, but please tell me your version of O ld House W oods. G: Just hear about this schooner over there at the edge of dark and the chain in the woods and they climb down the chain to go check on their treasure or bury more treasure in the woods. T: Interesting. G: And come steal horses right outta their lot and ride up and down the road at night.
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 39 T: [Laughter] I heard that one actually. So who told you those stories? G: It was kinda just common knowledge. You hear people about it. There really anybody that just sat down and told me. Y ou just hear people about it up. T: Anything else like that just common knowledge that you might be assuming I know or something like that? G: No, not really. T: Are there any other anecdotes you want to share about your family, or being a waterman? G: One thing I like about Winter Harbor kinda sad to me: i so many little points and guts and ditches all have names, and probably one of the last one that will know those names. And when I die all those names will be gone. A nd I guess foolishness, but kinda sad to me that all those places were named for some reason and they will soon be forgotten. T: Please tell me all the names. G: got Tom Channel, Marybeck Channel, Shelly Bank Hole, Oyster Prone Gut, Toothache Point, Baytree Point, Woodyard, Jim Landin it just goes on and on and on. T: Do you know any of the stories behind any? G: Toothache Point: my whole life it was a point and it had like a little hold behind it and you kinda thought maybe it was a cavity. The reason they call it toothache:
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 40 well about five years ago I got a tape of a lady that interviewed a man that died, he was probably in his nineties and died in mid 80 s They interviewed him and asked him about the last Indians that lived in this area that he remembered about. And he said that his grandmother told him the last group of Indians live d on Toothache Point in the creek. And she asked him why was it named Toothache Point and he said because there was a lot of toothache trees, according to the Indians, that grew on that point. And how it got the name Toothache Point. T: Any other places that you can G: And actually I went to that point duck about two years ago and found about seven arrowheads right on that point right there. T: Really? Wow, amazing. Do you know any of the other stories behind the names or any other names you want to share? G: Tom Channel supposedly was a man named Tom Peggy that dug that channel to get more water over his oyster beds. Woodyard supposedly somebody saw a devil wood in that area one day and named it Woodyard [Laughter ]. T: G: Shelly Bank Hole : a lot of shells on the shore there S upposedly where the Indians shucked oysters and threw the shells there is where i t got the name Shelly Bank. All mouth of the harbor is just a ditch now and supposedly that was the original entrance to the creek. Everywhere has a name in here.
TMP 032; Godsey; Page 41 T: Is there anything else you want to I mean this is loaded obviously, but is there anything else you want to share that might not get passed down that you want on the record? G: No, not really, probably about it. T: I can conclude if good with that. G: Yup, fine. [End of i nterview] Transcribed by: Mariah Justice, October 13, 2014 Audit edited by: Jessica Taylor, October 13, 2014 Final edited by: Jessica Taylor